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    Not Today





    If I look I'm not sure that I could face you.
    Not again. not today. not today…

     

    September 11th. So much changed in these twelve years, and yet… here we are standing - again - on the brink of more war. This knot in my stomach - stubbornly unforgetful when the calendar turns to 9-11 - I can't help but think back.

     

    I want this day to pass peacefully; I want that my children will never experience a day like that day.

     

    Love & peace, for those taken on that day, and those left behind.

     

    video: REM - Final Straw

    …love will be my strongest weapon.
    I do believe that I am not alone.
    For this fear will not destroy me.

    ~REM

     

     

    Posted: Sep 10 2013, 23:58 by kelly | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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    A Good Childhood





    Parenting is like finally getting big enough to be the boss of the playground. Only, no one can agree on which game to play, and someone always ends up with a scraped knee or the wind knocked out of them. And when it's time to run home - tired, hungry, cold, at the end of the day - there's no one there to make the hot cocoa. Except you.

     

    So you do it. Because you should. But maybe more because you want be certain the deposits going into those tiny memory banks in our charge - each day, each MOMENT of experiences - are mostly the good kind. Shiny coins. Memories they'll want to revisit years from now.

     

    Because you know - even when it frightens you to think about it - children are ALWAYS WATCHING and ALWAYS LEARNING. No pressure, Mom, Dad. It's only childhood.

     

    Childhood. In running through this redux of childhood we are gifted with as parents, I've made mistakes. I've wrestled endlessly with my own childhood. I've bitten back words nearly said to my kids; words that WERE said to me in childhood, that I've heard so loudly in my brain at essential trying parenting moments I have to pause and look around a moment to be sure I was actually successful in the biting. The sharp echoes of these words said - and unsaid are a reminder. To be aware. Mindful of not clobbering my children with my own childhood. They have the right to their own experience and don't need my hair shirt.

     

    It's one of the most difficult parts of parenting -  shedding that rough sweater of negative childhood experience in order that you don't pass that insufferable legacy along to your kids.

     

    That sweater. Most of the time, in spite of my best efforts to remove it, it somehow manages to remain tied to me. Sometimes tight - though I can work at the knot enough to loosen it, yet, I know it's still there… ready to resume scratching should I hit a snag in this parenting gig. An ever-present repugnant irritant. Yet, I don't always mind it. See… it pushes me onwards  - to keep working and evolving in an effort to free myself - so that my children don't end up lugging around a sweater of their own.

     

    Again, no pressure.

     

    But in all of my imperfection, misnavigation, and sweater-wrangling, my children still cling to me. Though they push me away stormily, run from me with fierce speed, throw their cruddiest words at me, they also run to me - gushing with love, forgiveness, joy, expectation. They follow me when I lead, believe me when I speak, even if I don't know just where I'm going. They move me on.

     

    And then. They inadvertently demonstrate something I've been trying desperately to teach; they give me confidence that I'm sailing this ship rightly, and the knot around my middle loosens even more. I breathe and hear the clink of another shiny coin. A growing reflection in my child's eye of a good childhood

     

    When our children can pass on a legacy of content, satisfaction, and joy to their own children - without struggling to find that within themselves - I'll know that I did okay. 

    Posted: Feb 28 2013, 14:22 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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    Breastfeeding in Public - Madonna Style!





    I’m a long-time fan of Madonna. In the 80's, I'm pretty sure I wanted to BE the queen of pop. The first outfit I bought with my own money? White roll-down mini skirt with grommets, and orange shirt with roll-up mesh sleeves. One of the very first CDs I owned was the soundtrack to Dick Tracy (please don't tell any of this to my indie-alterna-grunge self of the 90's, she might die a little bit). Anyhow, Madonna’s already a legend in my book: independent, self-assured, ambitious, spirited, doesn't give a hoot about what anyone thinks of her. So, where's this post going, you ask?

    Well, her new album is being released in a couple of days, so I decided to check out the video for the first single, to get a taste of where her music has gone this time and... jaw drop. Because?

    Breastfeeding. Madonna, breastfeeding. In her video! "Squeeeeeeee!!", says the lactivist in me.  

    Now yes, okay, it's not a REAL baby, and yeah, she tosses the baby like a football at the end, and alright, the song isn't that great, nor is the rest of the video (though, dang, her legs look fabulous!), but still, all that aside, there is Madonna in the video, not once, but TWICE, breastfeeding "in public". So, Madonna. I still think you rock; but even more so now.

    If you want to see the video for yourself... 

    Posted: Mar 21 2012, 22:18 by kelly | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |
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    Thirty-Six





    When I was born, Gerald Ford was president. John Denver, James Taylor, Barry Manilow, and the Bee Gees were standards on the radio. A gallon of gas cost $.44. [Feel free to pick your jaw up off of the floor now. I can wait.] The Vietnam War officially ended. Jaws was the most popular film of the year. The VHS tape (now obsolete) was introduced and Bill Gates created Microsoft.

    Me. Today. On my 36th Birthday
    Turning thirty-six insists that I’ve officially moved into the “next age bracket”. This means that when I fill out forms, I’m no longer grouped in with the 20-somethings (see Wiki: US Census - Middle Age). I’m starting to be called Ma’am instead of Miss. The gray hairs which I’ve been sporting for the last 10 years are starting to accumulate (which, to be frank, I actually like, and am doing nothing about, so take that, Time). The “oldies” station on the radio plays 80’s music now. But I’m not complaining; I loved eighties music.
    This year was awesome. I started running. Back on April 12th, I got up off my bum, and got on the treadmill. (I only lasted about ¼ mile). I got up the next day and did it again (& the next day...). Next week, (almost exactly 6 months after starting running), I will be running a 10k event! I’m feeling healthier than I have in a long time. I’m reading much more often again. I travelled a lot this year with my family. I’m writing on my blog with greater frequency (and I think people might actually be reading it? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller…). Adam and I have gone to see real movies in the theatre recently. AND? I started back roller skating! So my 36th year was a darned good one.
    But, here’s the thing. I’ve noticed that my hollywood contemporaries are aging, and… I don’t recognize the new ones. The 20-somethings of the world look so young to me. The teenagers I see in are babies. Heck, my own children will BOTH be teenagers in less than 6 years. What…WHAT?! Jane’s Addiction is about to release a new album and I remember when their first one came out. My friend from college said about the new album, “I may have to get that for my Geriatric Lollapalooza mix”. Which… Exactly. (Sigh.) See, Kurt Cobain has been nearly 20 years gone, but when I listen to Nevermind, it sounds fresh to me! Time is passing, things are aging, but I’m still feeling young, and my memories of youth are still bright.
    I don’t have a problem with aging, really (really, really). Age really is just a number, blah-di-blah. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the passing of time weirds me out just a little. My kids (no longer babies) have never not known a cell phone (my youngest hasn’t ever not known a smart phone), and have no idea what it’s like to carry change around for a payphone. What’s a payphone, Mom? We sold the last of our VHS tapes at a garage sale this year, and we converted our CD collection to digital six years ago. My mother’s generation? They went to the moon. My generation? They’ve discontinued NASA and downgraded Pluto from planet status. Time passes, things change, time continues on, etc., etc....
    I’ve got a lot of time left. (89 years, actually, since I plan on seeing the next century.) So I guess I’d better get used the fact that my kids are currently better on computers than I was in high school. It’s just the way it is. I embrace the passing of time as each moment shows me something new. So, hello middle age (ha!)… what can you show me?
    Posted: Oct 07 2011, 15:22 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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    Rubber bands, mix tapes, and nostalgia





    Silly Bandz. Have you seen these? Rubber bands, in the shapes of animals & other objects. At a premium price. Kids collect them, trade them, choke on them, shoot them at other kids… oh wait, no. Well, probably yes. But it’s not a use officially listed on the packaging, anyway.
    Grandma brought each of my kiddos a pack of these rubber bracelets home from vacation last week. I don’t have a problem with silly bandz, really. I mean, except for the paying $5 for a pack of rubberbands part (the inventor of Silly Bandz? Laughing. All. The. Way. To. The. Bank.)
    Now, they’re a little too trendy for my taste, and the rebel in me wants to tell my kids to buck the trend. Yet, at the same time, they make me a bit nostalgic, if you want to know the truth. Before my own bucking-the-trend days, I was a passionate collector of rubber/jelly bracelets. Do you remember those?
    Only I think they were somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 – 25 cents a piece, back then. Ya know, back then being early 80’s. (Yeah, I’m old) I used to love those things. Love them like sleep with them, make them into necklaces, get them taken away by my fifth grade teacher, sneak into said teacher’s room during recess & steal them back…
    So it got me thinking about OTHER trendy or otherwise awesome things that make me reminisce on the good parts of my youth. Here’s what I came up with:
    Jellies. The shoes. Oh, I had this most awesomest pair of fluorescent orange jelly sandals when I was about 9. Those babies would GLOW in the twilight, man. I’d strap them on, and wait at the door, for just the right light, just as the sun set, when the sky is that weird grayish purplish color for about 10 minutes, and race out of the house down the driveway to dance in my day-glo orange jellies. Yesiree boss, I was cool. Um, by cool I mean, you know, uncool.
    And then there was Madonna. I’m not sure I can give words to just how much I worshipped Madonna as a pre-teen. She was amazing to me – the most beautiful voice, the most risqué lyrics (hey, I didn’t really KNOW what Papa Don’t Preach was about, but I sure as heck knew as a cruised along on my bike with my walkman on that it was SOMETHING my parents didn’t quite want me to listen to), and marvelous clothes. Speaking of clothes… the very first outfit that I purchased with my very own money – I’d say right around the ripe old age of 10, was (yes, I still remember it like it was yesterday, thank you very much) a white miniskirt that had a roll-down waist, and an orange (are you getting the picture here, orange was cool) slightly off the shoulder shirt with roll-up sleeves that, when rolled up, revealed orange MESH. Very Madonna-esque. Very cool (come on, it was the EIGHTIES). My mom wouldn’t let me get the studded belt. But, you know, you take what you can get. I probably wore that outfit every other day.
    (Okay, don’t have a photo of that outfit, so this will have to suffice. Me, circa 1989. Note asymmetrical haircut & beret. Really, the start of said bucking-the-trend days. Yet, note the Docksiders adorning my feet. Gah.)
    So back to the eighties & music: the mix tape. My first mix tapes were made using the radio. By this I mean that I used to hold my tape recorder up to my sister’s radio & wait with bated breath for the “good” songs (read: “Walking on Sunshine” and “Careless Whisper” and “People are People”) to come on the radio and rush to press play & record in precise unison, quickly press the microphone slot up against the speaker, then dash out of the room & make everyone promise not to go in until the song was done, to avoid any background noise. Of course, there always was background noise. Also, it was recorded in mono. But again, you take what you can get.
    When CDs came out, I was in heaven as far as mix tapes were concerned. No more tape player to tape player recording of tapes from my friends (and yes, I still have the Beastie’s License to Ill on a tape-to-tape dub. Yes I DO.). Now I could have my music in STEREO (and uninterrupted by a side-flip)! I still remember my first CDs. I used to save the long boxes the CDs came in (remember those?) and tape them up all over my walls. I shudder at the thought that I used to pay $17.99 for each CD. Highway robbery, I tell you.
    Eventually I burned all my disks into iTunes, and sold my CDs. And I swear I kept this one for posterity ONLY:
    But back to mix tapes. There was just something about them I’ve not quite managed to duplicate with an iTunes playlist. Maybe it’s the penciled-in song list on the tape label. Maybe it’s the song cutting off in the middle when you unexpectedly reach the end of the tape. There was something just very… tangible about mix tapes. I did keep a lot of my mix tapes, though I no longer have a way to play them. Relics. I just can’t part with them…
    So what else evokes memories of youth? I suppose there were the movies. There are a few movies that don’t ever get edged out of my top 20, no matter how many new movies I see. Classics, you know, like ET (I distinctly watching this from the FRONT ROW of the movie theatre and bawling my eyes out.), The Empire Strikes Back, Karate Kid, Yentl (I loved Barbara as a kid… not nearly as much as Madonna, but still. What ever happened to Barbara?), Neverending Story, The Princess Bride, Willow, Say Anything...
    And books! Nancy Drew, Watership Down, Charlotte's Web, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, Bridge to Terabithia...
    Sigh. I really lived those movies & books as a kid, not just watched or read them, ya know?
    So, back to the present. When I see my kids with silly bands lined up on their arms, I sigh a bit. Knowing they might remember them in 30 years with as much fondness as I recall mix tapes. Or maybe they’ll forget them. But for now, I’m okay with them, trendy or not. I look at them like a little sign that my kids are breaking out on their own, away from me & my ideas of what is cool or not. Which is exactly what they are supposed to do; growing up. Growing into themselves. It means we’re doing our job right.
    Posted: Jul 14 2010, 17:21 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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